20 Questions with Martha Stewart

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I have just discovered the Financial Times' 20 Questions column, and I was thrilled to discover that some of my favorite design world personalities have been profiled, including Sir Terence Conran and Martha Stewart. Here are a few gems from their Martha Stewart interview:

Did you ever think you’d end up where you are?

I never thought about where I would “end up”. In fact, much of my life and life’s work is yet to begin.

What do you like most about your job?

The diversity, the ability to meet interesting people, and that I learn something new every day.

And least?

The fact that not everything is always as optimistic or as fabulous as I would have it be.

When do you turn off your BlackBerry?


Who has been your biggest influence?

Great teachers, experts, artisans, superb chefs and craftsmen.

If you hadn’t been in business what would you have done?

I would have been a farmer and grower.

When do you want to retire?

I have no plans.

How do you want to be remembered?

As a really fine teacher.

The Tenth Muse: Food

Monday, March 29, 2010

I've just finished reading The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones. The 'muse' title refers to food, or as Judith Jones writes, "Gasterea, is the tenth muse. She presides over all the pleasures of taste." This is a lovely memoir from the editor who first published Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and worked with many other celebrated chefs, including some of my personal favorites like Lidia Bastianich and Marcella Hazan.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read about food. However, I was left wanting more: I wanted to know everything about Judith Jones and her husband Evan, to whom the book is dedicated. Luckily for me, Jones has another recently released book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One, which she wrote after her husband died. It's on my to-read list.

I would also encourage food lovers to read My Life In France, a memoir by Julia Child written with the help of her grandson. This wonderful book gives you a very complete picture of Julia Child's years in France and those spent writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It is an amazing record of how Julia Child became The Julia Child, and it is also a wonderful love story about Julia and Paul Child's beautiful marriage and lifelong collaboration.

Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid

Friday, March 26, 2010

Yesterday, the last song on my running mix was Guns 'N Roses singing "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." For some reason, listening to that song it occurred to me how exciting it must be for an artist like Bob Dylan to hear a song you'd written taken on new lives with new singers. I imagine Dylan, who was touring with the Dead circa 1987 when the G 'N R version came out, must of laughed with joy the first time he heard a fully-produced Axl Rose crooning his lyrics--I mean, really what fun, right?

Back in December, I was introduced to Bob Dylan's soundtrack to the movie Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, which "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" first appeared on. Prior to that I'd only ever heard the song alone and out of context. The soundtrack has become one of my favorite Dylan albums (Nashville Skyline is still my favorite). I am hopelessly in love with Gillian Welch's live cover of Billy, if you can get your hands on it, do--it'll make your day. Me, I've got the film in my Netflix queue to be watched soon.

Scrabble Table!

Dorky as it is, I adore Scrabble, so, of course, I love this Scrabble table! Photographed by Katie Sokolor (aka ColorMeKatie). I just discovered her blog, Color Me Katie, and I have a huge, hopeless girl-crush on Kate and her marvelous, colorful work. Below is a taste of ColorMeKate. You MUST go check out her blog and Flickr stream to see more--trust me, it's worth a peek.

Yes, Please: Abstract Expressionist Stamps

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Have you seen the new Abstract Expressionists stamps from the United States Postal Service? Um, yes, please! Makes me want to send a letter.

Mix 'N Match Mid-Century Chairs

I sort of love this idea. From Sarah on Remodelista, "Here's proof that not everything needs to match: six different midcentury chair designs, in various types of wood, create a compelling dining tableau." You could have a Hans Wegner's 1949 Wishbone Chair, a Cherner Arm Chair, a CH20 Elbow Chair and a few others to boot.

Jane Brody's Chicken "Barleycorn" Soup

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We ended up making Chicken "Barleycorn" Soup from Jane Brody's Good Food Cookbook with the stock from the romertopf chicken. As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Ms. Brody's soup recipes, and the Chicken "Barleycorn" Soup was no exception. Here's the second half of the recipe (I'm leaving out the preparation of the stock, since we didn't follow those directions).

Chicken "Barleycorn" Soup
adapted from Jane Brody's Good Food Cookbook

6-8 cups of homemade chicken stock
3-4 cups cooked chicken meat, shredded
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 c. barley
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
4 cups corn kernels (two 10 oz. packages frozen kernels, thawed)
1/2 c. sliced scallions (2-3 scallions)
4 T. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. Tabsco sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Bring stock to a boil, add barley, basil and thyme. Lower to a simmer, cover soup and cook for 45 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, puree in a blender (or food processor) 1 bag of corn with 1 cup of stock.

3. Dice the carrots and celery.

4. When barley is tender, ass the corn puree, corn kernels, carrot snd celery to the pot. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add chicken pieces, scallions, cumin, parsley, and hot sauce to the post and simmer for five more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with additional fresh parsley.

Ochre Owners' Shelter Island Home in House Beautiful

Another house to love: The Shelter Island home of Harriet Maxwell Macdonald and Andrew Corrie, the owners of the New York City shop Ochre. The house graces the cover of House Beautiful's wood-themed issue and appears in the their feature well. While these online photos are lovely, I whole-heartedly suggest picking up a print copy to see the full story.

A living embodiment of the Ochre brand: The house is filled with furnishings from Ochre and its lower-priced sister line Canvas. (Though the sofa above is an old one from Andrew's bachelor days that has been slipcovered.) The photographs are shot by Ditte Isager, who also shoots Canvas's catalogs.

A map of Shelter Island and Peconic Bay hangs above this vintage cabinet. Having spent many childhood summer on Shelter Island. I must admit I also have a soft-spot for this house's locale.

I love the details here: The natural, linen colored roman shade, the faded blue and white stripe rug and a crisp white Bertoia side chair mixed in with all that rustic wood.

Someday I swear will own at least one Hans Wegner's 1949 wishbone chair. These are in soaped Danish ash finish.
It's not all custom and high-end furnishings: Those bookcases are from West Elm!

I love Andrew's homemade bamboo shade cover for the deck. It's a great DIY inspiration for my future summer house.

Romertoff Chicken

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On Friday night, my boyfriend brought over his clay romertopf pot and cooked me dinner in it. I'm a lucky girl to have a boyfriend who wants to roast me chickens, aren't I? It was super-tender and we've made chicken stock to cook some soup tonight--I just have to choose a recipe worthy of this perfect and aromatic chicken broth.

Daffodils Are Blooming

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The weather in New York City the last few days has been pure spring bliss with highs of about 70 degrees each day and blue, clear skies. Our scrappy little garden has daffodils blooming. Restaurants have hauled their tables outside. I have my windows open. Oh, spring, stick around for a while, would you?

Bon Appétit's Barley Stew with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Greens

Friday, March 19, 2010

After returning from vacation, I felt like I should try to be frugal this week, so I have been eating up whatever is in the house. Tucked away in my freezer were two servings of Barley Stew with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Greens from Bon Appétit.

I'd made this soup earlier this winter after reading about the recipe on The Pink of Perfection, and frozen some of the servings. I had forgotten just how good this soup was; Sarah was right when she wrote, "The flavor of this soup really develops after a couple of hours of sitting or when it’s left overnight in the fridge." The recipe is definitely going to be in rotation again next winter. Plus, the ingredients were super-healthy and very affordable.

Bon Appétit's Barley Stew with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Greens

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 small stalks; white and pale green parts only)
1 8-ounce container sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup pearl barley
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
1 bunch kale (about 8 ounces), trimmed, center stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped (about 8 cups packed)

1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add leeks; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until leeks begin to soften, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

2. Add mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until mushrooms soften and begin to brown, stirring often, about 7 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes with juice; stir 1 minute.

4. Add barley and 4 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until barley is almost tender, about 20 minutes.

5. Add kale; stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Cover and simmer until kale and barley are tender, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed for desired stew consistency, about 10 minutes.

Recipe by Bon Appétit, photo by The Pink of Perfection.

Hanging Lights from Mason Jars

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spotted at a clothing store on Broadway near NYU's campus, I just loved this mason jar light fixture. While, lamps made out of glass jars are not exactly a new idea, I liked the look of this fixture and felt some serious craft-spiration when I saw it.

Mexico, A Short Story

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm back from vacation and swamped with work, but here's a little glimpse of some of the joys our trip to Mexico: Margaritas and guacamole served right at the beach.

Clearly, we hated them.

See You Next Week!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Adios! I'm off to Mexico early tomorrow morning for a much-needed vacation with my lovely boyfriend. We'll be in Mahahual for three days and then in Tulum for another three. Three cheers for beaches, beers, tacos and books. See you all when I get back!

Annamoa Fabric at Ikea

How cute is this ANNAMOA fabric from Ikea? Look at those little crabs and seaweed! I've been pleased with the quality of Ikea's by the yard fabric in the past, so I think I need to make some kind of summer table linens out of this awesome print. Better still it's only $7.99/yard! Thanks heavens for good old Big Blue.

Bravo, Nate Berkus!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Who else loved this Nate Berkus-designed Chicago home in ELLE DECOR this month? When I got my issue in the mail, my boyfriend and I immediately swooned over the cover shot above. As a former magazine editor, I know that a great cover doesn't always mean an interesting story, but in this case it did. William Waldron's photos are gorgeous, the interiors are stylish-but-livable and the text itself is fun; in particular, I loved writer Ellen Rakieten's opening lines:
Like many things in life, it all started with one question. Decorator Nate Berkus walked into the master bedroom of my old apartment, took one look around, and confronted me: “You are the executive producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the most ‘Get it done’ and ‘Make it happen’ person I know. Why does this room look like a hellhole?”

All photographs by William Waldron for ELLE DECOR.

More Office Inspiration

Sunday, March 07, 2010

More home office inspiration, this shot is from photographer Ditte Isager's portfolio. I love the wall of bookshelves and that red ladder!

Do YOU Make Your Bed?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Did anyone else read "On Top of the Happiness Racket," the article in Sunday's New York Times profiling Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun? I was surprised when I read this tidbit:
Amid the salt spray of erudition, most of her insights turn out to be of the palm-smacking-forehead order. “The No. 1 resolution I keep getting feedback on,” she said, “is ‘Make your bed.’ ” Manageable, she said. First order of the day, getting your life together.
“This is about ordinary happiness,” she added. “I wanted to change my life without making major changes. I wanted to show that you don’t have to do something radical.”
Do people NOT make their beds everyday? Grown-ups? I can't imagine not making my bed. Even on the busiest, most hectic days, I take the approximately two minutes to make my bed and fluff the pillows. Maybe this is why I'm a pretty happy person? What about you, do you make your bed every day?

A16: Food + Wine Cookbook

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

My sweet boyfriend bought me the A16: Food + Wine cookbook because A16 is one of his favorite restaurants. We've spent the last week cooking out of it, and half a dozen recipes later, I can safely say that I love this book. I wasn't at all surprised to learn that last spring, the International Association of Culinary Professionals named A16: Food + Wine its Cookbook of the Year.

Of the recipes we have tried, the Roasted Potatoes And Cauliflower With Red Onion, Capers And Chiles recipe was delicious and the Pistachio And Almond Cake With Orange Salad was nothing short of divine--I'd buy the book just for that Pistachio And Almond Cake recipe.

Co-author of A16: Food + Wine and James Beard Foundation "Rising Star Chef," Nate Appleman is about to open Pulino's, a restaurant here in New York City, with Keith McNally. I can't wait to eat there! In the meantime, I'm looking forward to reading about the venture in this week's New York magazine.

DIY Inspiration: Logs on Casters

Monday, March 01, 2010

I kind of love these logs on casters from Loft Life magazine, which I spotted on Happy Mundane. It also makes me want to go find a copy of Loft Life, which I have never read. Has anyone seen this magazine? Is it worth a read?

The Golden Egg Bank

You have to love this modern piggy bank inspired by the 'Goose With The Golden Egg' nursery tale. I spied the Golden Egg Money Bank in Living Etc. and manufacturer Dutch By Design is based in the U.K., but I'm pretty sure I've seen this bank stateside, as well. I think it would make a great gift for a hard-to-shop-for teen.

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